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Hopes for Higher Home Values Ease Pessimism: Survey

The CNBC All-America Economic Survey finds a measurable drop of extreme pessimism on the economy, but no real rise in optimism.

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The 49 percent of Americans saying the economy is poor has fallen to its lowest level since the recession began in 2008, though it remains high. The result has been a rise those saying the economy is “only fair” while just 10 percent of the public combines to say the economy is good or excellent.

Behind the decline in extreme pessimism, Americans’ expectations for the value of their home prices in the next 12 months turned positive for the first time since 2007 even while it is just barely positive at 0.4 percent.

By comparison, before the housing crisis began in 2007, Americans believed their home values would rise as much as 4 percent in a year.

Inflationfears have also eased, with Americans expecting prices to rise around 4 percent, down from 4.8 percent in the March survey. And hopes for wage gains among American in the next 12 months have stabilized at around 2.1 percent. This number routinely was above 4 percent before the recession, but sank as low as 1.3 percent during the depths of the downturn.

CNBC

However, American attitudes towards the stock market remain challenged. One in five Americans believe that only people with inside information can profit in the stock market and a similar percentage think that only experts can make money.

Just about half the public thinks you can make money on your own if you do your homework. Ominously for equities, market savvy investors — those with $50,000 or more in the market have similar views.

Less than a third of the public believes now is a good time to invest in stocks, about unchanged from the last survey in March.

But downbeat attitudes towards the market continue to intensify among market savvy investors. This survey marks the lowest percentage in the survey’s six-year history of those with $50,000 or more in the market who believe now is a good time to invest in stocks. The slide began 15-months ago, and has now fallen below 50 percent for the first time.

However, the recent botchedFacebook initial public offering does not appear to have had much effect on people’s plans to invest.

Seven out of 10 Americans say they have heard of the Facebook IPO and 72 percent say it won’t change their investment either way. About half the public said they have a Facebook profile, with women beating men 55 percent to 45 percent, and Republicans beating Democrats 54 percent to 48 percent.

-By CNBC's Steve Liesman
Follow Steve Liesman on Twitter: @steveliesman

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